28-year-old Jaime Tran faces up to life in prison following recent indictment
By Sam Catanzaro
A federal grand jury Friday returned a four-count indictment charging a man with hate crime and firearms offenses for allegedly shooting two Jewish men after they left synagogues in the Pico-Robertson area of Los Angeles last month.
According to the Department of Justice, Jaime Tran, 28, has been charged with two hate crime counts for willfully causing bodily injury and attempting to kill his victims. The grand jury Friday further charged Tran with two counts of discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
Tran has been in federal custody since his February 17 arrest on a criminal complaint in this case. His arraignment is scheduled for March 9 in the United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
According to the indictment, Tran developed and espoused antisemitic beliefs and made violent threats toward Jewish people. For example, in 2018, Tran left dental school after making hate-filled statements about other students whom he perceived to be Jewish, the indictment states.
From August 2022 to December 2022, Tran’s antisemitic statements escalated and used increasingly violent language, including against a former classmate whom he repeatedly called and texted with messages such as “I want you dead, Jew. Someone is going to kill you, Jew,” and “Burn in an oven chamber,” the indictment alleges.
In November 2022, Tran allegedly emailed two dozen former classmates a flyer containing antisemitic propaganda, including the statement, “EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF THE COVID AGENDA IS JEWISH.”
Tran allegedly acquired at least two firearms before the attacks and performed internet searches for “kosher markets” to learn about areas where Jewish people congregate.
According to prosecutors, around 9:45 a.m. on February 15, 2023, Tran allegedly drove to the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles, located an individual identified in the indictment as “Victim A,” who was wearing a black jacket and yarmulke and had just left religious services at a synagogue. Tran allegedly shot Victim A in the back at close range, intending to kill him, but Victim A, though wounded, survived.
The following morning, Tran returned to the Pico-Robertson area, intending to kill another Jewish person, according to the indictment. At approximately 8 a.m., Tran allegedly approached an individual wearing a dark-colored jacket and yarmulke and who is identified in the indictment as “Victim B.” Tran, intending to kill Victim B, allegedly shot and wounded the victim, who survived the attack.
If convicted of all charges, Tran would face a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison for each hate crime count, and a maximum of life and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for each firearm count.